Ken Livingstone could put the brakes on Derwent London’s plans for a mixed-use development next to Paddington train station because of an affordable housing issue.
Derwent’s revised plans go before Westminster City Council’s planning and development committee next Thursday for 425,000 sq ft of offices and residences across two blocks at North Wharf Road.
The scheme, near Development Securities’ Paddington Central, was rejected four years ago and the plans have been completely revised.
But it is set to struggle again after criticism in a Westminster planning report obtained by Property Week.
The report criticises Derwent for not including social housing on-site - and says its offer of £5.74m instead is not good enough.
Graham King, Westminster’s head of planning, said the decision would rest on the Mayor of London’s opinion. ‘It will be hammered out on the night once we have heard from the Mayor,’ he said.
In September the Greater London Authority told Westminster Council that it thinks the affordable housing proposals are unacceptable.
Westminster’s 41-page report into the scheme welcomes the design of the building but criticises the affordable housing proposals.
‘During pre-submission discussions,’ the report says, ‘it became apparent that the applicant’s viability calculations had led them to fundamentally change the scheme by omitting on-site affordable housing entirely and substituting a financial contribution of £5,744,580 towards provision of affordable housing off-site.
‘On the basis of the information currently available, officers take the view that the applicants have not justified the absence of on-site affordable housing.’
The report says if a payment was accepted instead of providing the housing on-site it would need to be increased to £6.3m.
Four years of redesign
In the original planning application, rejected in December 2003, Derwent had offered to provide 32 affordable units out of the 102 flats in a ten-storey residential block.
The application was rejected because of concerns about the height and bulk of the buildings – and were redesigned without any on-site affordable housing.
Derwent declined to comment